One of my favorite things about social media is the way memories pop up. When this photo from almost exactly a year ago showed up, I was reminded of one of the best evenings I've had. My home church was lucky to have been asked to host an evening with Wm. Paul Young, the author of The Shack and several other wonderful books. We shared a lovely evening of conversation and fellowship leading up to his presentation. Although I took many notes that night, one quote from his story has continued to resonate with me. It made such an impact that it led me to choose "GIFT" as my word for 2020 (we'll talk about choosing a word for the year in another blog post soon). He said "When you let of your expectations, everything is a gift."
Just sit with that for a moment. What a powerful reflection for 2020. I began the year with the expectation that seeing everything as a gift was going to change my perspective on the whole year. Then March happened. Covid-19 changed the landscape of our lives completely. As I write this reflection on Thanksgiving Eve, we are all tired of the losses. We are tired of making decisions that disappoint. We are tired of our expectations for the year not even being an option.
Full confession, I forgot my word completely. Someone asked in a group coaching session and I could not even remember what I had chosen in January. It just seems like a lifetime ago. But what if that is really where we need to be? What would it look like to erase expectation and look at 2020 as a gift? Please do not hear me minimizing the tragedy of the pandemic. It has been tragedy on a scale none of us expected to even experience. And yet, I know there have been gifts. We have all been forced to slow down, to spend more time with our immediate family. We have been cooking at home more. We have been spending more time outdoors. I know I have been using my beautiful front porch as a place to gather, a rare occurrence before 2020. We have been forced to have conversations about consent, to ask our neighbors and friends what they are comfortable doing.
As you head into your Thanksgiving day, whatever that will look like for you, ponder the gifts you have seen in 2020. Let me know what you find.
Because you are worth it!
If you would like to see the presentation Wm Paul Young made that night, you will find it here.